Facebook has been accused of giving “at least 60” phone manufacturers, including Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft, “extensive” user data.
According to a report from the New York Times, the social media giant “reached data-sharing partnerships with at least 60 device makers — including Apple, Amazon, BlackBerry, Microsoft and Samsung — over the last decade, starting before Facebook apps were widely available on smartphones.”
“The deals allowed Facebook to expand its reach and let device makers offer customers popular features of the social network, such as messaging, ‘like’ buttons and address books,” the New York Times explained, adding the partnerships “raise concerns about the company’s privacy protections and compliance with a 2011 consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission.”
“Facebook allowed the device companies access to the data of users’ friends without their explicit consent, even after declaring that it would no longer share such information with outsiders,” the report claimed. “Some device makers could retrieve personal information even from users’ friends who believed they had barred any sharing.”
Facebook, however, “disagreed” with the report, declaring, “While we agreed with many of their past concerns about the controls over Facebook information shared with third-party app developers, we disagree with the issues they’ve raised about these APIs.”
“In the early days of mobile, the demand for Facebook outpaced our ability to build versions of the product that worked on every phone or operating system. It’s hard to remember now but back then there were no app stores,” Facebook declared. “So companies like Facebook, Google, Twitter and YouTube had to work directly with operating system and device manufacturers to get their products into people’s hands. This took a lot of time — and Facebook was not able to get to everyone.”
“To bridge this gap, we built a set of device-integrated APIs that allowed companies to recreate Facebook-like experiences for their individual devices or operating systems. Over the last decade, around 60 companies have used them — including many household names such as Amazon, Apple, Blackberry, HTC, Microsoft and Samsung,” the company continued. “All these partnerships were built on a common interest — the desire for people to be able to use Facebook whatever their device or operating system.”